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Civil service board passes resolution to change board member requirements

By: ELIZABETH
WEST
Managing Editor

A change in requirements for civil service board members was approved by a vote of three to one during the Ville Platte Fire and Police Civil Service Board meeting on Monday.
In the past, civil service board members who represented the Ville Platte fire and police departments had to reside in the area where they provide police and fire protection, and also be a registered voter within that area.
During the civil service board’s October 2, 2017 meeting, a resolution being discussed stated, “Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board shall not be required to be a resident of Evangeline Parish and shall not be required to be a resident or a qualified voter of the area in which they are appointed to serve.”
Board member Larry Lachney said, “I think the person serving should have to be a resident of this parish. We don’t want to extend it too far.”
Also opposing the change was board member Venita Doucet who represents the police department.
Lachney then asked how the board member representing the fire and police departments are chosen.
Board member Chris Soileau answered Lachney’s question by stating, “They are elected and appointed by their peers.”
The board’s chairman, David Ortego, then voiced that he feels not allowing people to serve based on where they live and vote goes against the purpose of civil service.
Ortego said, “Being that this is civil service, I am surprised that you have to be a qualified voter within that district. If that’s the case then you kind of getting into crossing the line as true civil service because you have some commitment, because of that voting privilege, to what ever candidate or office holder. Civil service by definition is to have no political affiliation whatsoever.”
Following Ortego’s statement, the resolution to change the requirements was passed with three votes in favor of and one against. The one opposing vote came from Doucet.
The action of the civil service board now must be approved by the Ville Platte City Council before this change is official.

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